Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Combat Patrol(TM): World War II in the Bocage

    Posted By on March 22, 2017

    SdKfz 222s advance across fields to stop the American advance

    I ran two Bocage games at Cold Wars using Combat Patrol(TM): World War II.  Both games went well.  In fact three of the American players form the first time I ran the game came back to play Germans in the second game.

    Americans take cover behind the farmhouse

    The Americans didn't know what kinds of anti-tank weapons the Germans possessed, so they were very cautious. After an unsuccessful Panzerschreck shot, the Americans became even more cautions, seeking cover behind this farmhouse. A couple of turns later, the Sherman advanced up the road and was destroyed by a Panzerfaust from behind a hedge.

    The Sherman disabled the SdKfz222. Then the Stuart advanced to push the disabled German vehicle out of the way and try to outflank the Germans.

    The Sherman was disabled by a Panzerfaust shot. The Americans then changed their plan, moving the Stuart toward the road intersection while the halftrack attempted to push the SdKfz 222 out of the way.

    US infantry advances on line.

    The second time I ran the game, the American advance was more orderly.  The American infantry advanced on line with support from the Stuart and their halftracks.  The Stuart took a Panzerschrek shot that disabled its tracks, so it spent the rest of the game as a pillbox.

    Americans advance through another open field on their right flank. These troops ran into a hidden German squad in the hedgerow to their front and were forced to drop back into their own hedge and engage in a protracted firefight.

    Both games went very well, and all the players seemed to have a really good time.  They also quickly grasped the rules and were quickly self-sufficient.

    Dave Wood’s Combat Patrol(TM) Games of Boer War

    Posted By on March 22, 2017

    Dave is writing a supplement to Combat Patrol(TM): World War II to adapt the rules to the Boer War and the Zulu War.  At Cold Wars he ran a Boer War ambush scenario using the to-be-released supplement.

    Schlegel’s Ferry at Cold Wars

    Posted By on March 22, 2017

    The HAWKs, mostly Kurt and Eric, ran a series of games on Schlegel’s Ferry.  The initial concept for Schlegel’s Ferry was to run a game on the same ground in various historical periods, and update the map for each battle.  Initially we ran early Indian vs. arquebus-armed settlers, French and Indian Wars, American Revolution, War of 1812, and American Civil War.

    The last couple of years, Eric has run a series of games with a holiday theme, from St. Valentine’s Day to Christmas.  Using Blood and Swash, these games are always a crowd pleaser.

    Winter War 1939 Double Blind with Combat Patrol(TM)

    Posted By on March 22, 2017

    A Finnish AT gun brews up a Russian T-26B.

    Zeb Cook and I ran a Winter War 1939 with Combat Patrol(TM): World War II and Zeb’s Winter War supplement.  The Russian objective was to advance up the road, capture some supplies, and hold open the road for later extraction.

    The Russians were forced to advance across open ground.  Initially they only suspected the locations of the Finns, but they soon were taking withering fire.  The Russians received some very bad morale results.  While they inflicted some damage on the Finns, a combination of Finn good shooting and Russian poor shooting mad the game a one-sided affair.

    Russians take cover in the river bank, but they were caught in a crossfire and decimated.

    Despite the one-sided outcome, I think the players still had a good time.

    Don Hogge Wins and Award

    Posted By on March 22, 2017

    The HMGS Legion of Honor presented Don Hogge with an award for his excellent Congo game at Cold Wars.  The game looked terrific, and the players had a great time.

    Three HAWKs won awards at Cold Wars: Don (for his Congo game), Greg (for his This is Not a Test post-apocalyptic game), and Eric Schlegel (for one of his Schlegel’s Ferry holiday games).

    Geoff Graff’s Lego Pirate Game

    Posted By on March 22, 2017

    Geoff Graff once again ran his Lego pirate game for kids at Cold Wars 2017.  As usual, the kids had a terrific time!

    Last Tank Battalion for LSNC: Sci Fi

    Posted By on March 11, 2017

    I completed another tank battalion and a few attachments for Look, Sarge, No Charts: Near Future and Science Fiction.  This battalion came from an ad hoc hodgepodge of things.  The vehicle above is from a set of small Russian kits I found on Ebay.  They seem to make these kits in both 1:48 (I have some for Combat Patrol) and 1:144 (for LSNC).

    You can see the battalion laid out in this picture.

    Most of the vehicles in this battalion began as Epic Warhammer 40k.  I then picked up a bunch of turrets from Iron Wind Metals at a convention and glued them to the Games Workshop hulls.  While it is clear how these vehicles began life, I think the effect is pretty good.  It will make a nice “irregular” force.

    The vehicles across the top of the pictures above and below are not Games Workshop.  I got them in a flea market at a convention.  They are for a science fiction game I hadn’t hear of before, and I don’t think they or the game are still available.  I wouldn’t mind a few more of them.

    Below are a few more of those Russian-made kits.  They provide a number of parts that are used to customize the vehicles.

    These Russian-made kits are not assigned to any of the tank battalions.  I intend to use them as attachments from higher headquarters to weight the main effort or help balance the game somewhat.

    Rifle Ranges and Gamers

    Posted By on March 8, 2017

    I found this article on the Warlord site very good.  I always greatly curtail weapon ranges from their theoretical maximum when designing rules.  Typically, I use 25% of maximum effective range.  My only quibble with this article is that the term effective range IS defined:  it is the distance at which an average marksman has a 50% chance of hitting a man-sized target.  What is an “average marksman” can be determined experimentally on a range.  In any event, the rated maximum effective ranges of modern weapons are determined in this way.

    The Shadow Battalion

    Posted By on March 7, 2017

    This weekend I found another battalion of Reaper Car tanks that I had forgotten I had.  In the original Kickstarter fulfillment, Reaper was short a few of this type of tank.  They arrived after I had finished the other battalions (see previous blog posts).  I painted them in a variety of camouflage patterns.  I decided that I would paint these in a black “special operations” color scheme.

    This picture shows the entire battalion: four companies of three platoons each, plus a battalion headquarters base.

    Painting them in shades of black and gray seemed a little bit like cheating, but I am happy with the final result.  When we start play testing Look, Sarge, No Charts: Science Fiction, I think this battalion will have some sort of stealth or cloaking capability.

    I am going to call this unit the “Shadow Battalion.”

    Beginnings of a Space Ship for Combat Patrol(TM): Science Fiction Skirmish

    Posted By on March 6, 2017

    I have been collecting Apple TV and iPod boxes for a year or so.  Borrowing an idea from Eric and Andrew Goolander, I wanted to make a space ship interior that is made from separate rooms that are placed in different configurations for different games.  These boxes are all about 3.6 inches tall.  I then covered them with “textures” I downloaded from different sites on the Internet to decorate the walls and give them a good appearance.

    I put textures on the inside and outside of the boxes.  I mostly completed several today, but I need to scrounge more boxes of the appropriate height.  I have a limited amount of space ship interior furnishings, but over the next few months I’ll be looking for more.

    These are the ones I “mostly” finished this weekend.  I figure this is about a third of what I need.  I will also be building some bigger rooms for a cargo bay, engine room, etc.  These will be placed on a based made of “granny grating” over MDF boards.